It wants donors to avoid laying down tough conditionalities

India will suggest a more humane approach to dealing with Afghanistan's under-development when the international community gathers for a brainstorming session in Tokyo on Sunday.

Armed with recommendations of a first-ever meeting of countries and companies hosted in New Delhi last month on investment issues in Afghanistan, the Indian delegation will want to seek the Tokyo outcome document to heed some of the points made by the Delhi Investment Summit.

The New Delhi meeting, bulk of whose attendance was from countries and companies from around the region, felt the international community should look at companies following some corporate social responsibility norms when in Afghanistan.

It also wanted donors to avoid the temptation of laying down tough conditionalities. “The desire of donor countries to see their tax-dollars utilised with integrity and efficiency should be balanced against the reality that optimal benchmarks are difficult to achieve in a conflict situation,” informed sources said.

“Good governance is crucial to the building of a strong and legitimate state. But good governance also requires a strong state that has full control over its territory,” the sources said while outlining the dilemma facing governments that wished to help Afghanistan.

Another area of emphasis for the Indian team in Tokyo will be the regional dimensions of terrorism, including safe havens. India believes that Afghanistan “ continues to be a country that faces an existential threat from terrorism emanating from beyond its borders — a threat that it is fighting every day, and that it is ill-equipped to repel” in the absence of substantial assistance from the international community. The international community's continued assistance is therefore essential.

India will also draw attention to the need for incentives and additional instruments to bolster the confidence of corporates stepping into a relatively high risk market.

On the fiscal side, countries could consider suitable incentive schemes for investing in Afghanistan.

In addition, the international community could explore the possibility of providing adequate insurance covers and guarantees to promote trade and investment.

“Although security conditions have improved tremendously in Afghanistan, challenges remain. In this context risk mitigation and investment protection will be a key requirement to make Afghanistan an attractive destination for foreign investment,” said the sources.

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